SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 35: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 35

5. The exterminators ------- increased the fire ant population by using a pesticide that killed a natural predator of the species.

A. inadvertently
B. auspiciously
C. unsuccessfully
D. tediously
E. ideally

Correct Answer: A

Explanation:

Skill: Understanding the content, form, and function of sentences

Explanation for Correct Answer A :

Choice (A) is correct. "Inadvertently" means unintentionally. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "The exterminators inadvertently increased the fire ant population by using a pesticide that killed a natural predator of the species." Exterminators are expected to eliminate insect-related problems, so the missing term should indicate that the increase in the fire ant population was accidental, or "inadvertent."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Auspiciously" means favorably or fortunately. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "The exterminators auspiciously increased the fire ant population by using a pesticide that killed a natural predator of the species." Exterminators are hired to eliminate insect populations, so it would be illogical to call an increase in the fire ant population "auspicious," or favorable.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Unsuccessfully" means without success. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "The exterminators unsuccessfully increased the fire ant population by using a pesticide that killed a natural predator of the species." Exterminators are hired to eliminate pest problems, so it is illogical to claim they would try, even "unsuccessfully," to increase an insect population.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Tediously" means in a tiresome or boring manner. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "The exterminators tediously increased the fire ant population by using a pesticide that killed a natural predator of the species." It makes little sense to claim that the pest control experts increased an insect population in a tiresome manner.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Ideally" means theoretically or under perfect circumstances. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "The exterminators ideally increased the fire ant population by using a pesticide that killed a natural predator of the species." Exterminators are expected to eliminate insect populations, so it is illogical to describe an increase in fire ants as "ideal," or perfect.

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